Friction Labs Gorilla Grip is good stuff, providing an additive free, consistently textured product. It's hands down the most expensive brand of chalk we tested. We've all seen Friction Labs' ubiquitous marketing campaigns with athletes from every tear of the sport hawking this magic white dust in return for free chalk. We've seen the #chalkmatters all over our insta-feeds and the shiny packages that made us think our local gear shop has started selling coffee. Our most frugal testers approached this chalk with raised eyebrows of skepticism and came away confirming a touch of truth to the adage "you get what you pay for." In the case of Gorilla Grip, that's a bag of marble-sized chalk chunks that give a uniform crunchy feel in your chalk bag with very little variation from package to package.If you don't want to pay top dollar for chalk then Black Diamond White Gold is the closest product in our review regarding texture but lacks the consistency of the Gorilla Grip. A bag of White Gold will have a more seemingly random assortment of chunks and dust.
Friction Labs Gorilla Grip Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Consistent texture bag after bag, great friction
Manufacturer: Friction Labs
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Friction & Overall Feel
Straight from the packaging and in hand, Gorilla Grip feels harder, crunchier and less powdery than the competition. On the plus side, chalk that chunky and less fine doesn't cake up on your hands or on the climbing holds like the chalk in the bottom of your bag that been there since last spring and has been ground down to moon dust. On the other hand, you'll need to grope around in your chalk bag a bit more to get as much chalk on your hands. It really depends on your preference, but considering Friction Labs sells chalk in three different texture varieties, you can bet that if you want crunchy chalk with a medium chunk, that's what you'll get every time with Gorilla Grip.
As mentioned previously, this chalk doesn't cake up on your hands as much as chalk of a finer texture. In cool, dry conditions we felt like Gorilla Grip is the perfect texture, giving us that confidence inspiring crispy feel on the rock. In more humid conditions, we actually preferred it when more chalk caked up on our hands. In our blind testing on the hangboard, there was slightly less chalk left on our testers' hands after three reps on the slopers than chalk with a finer texture like BD White Gold or a grounded down block of Frank Endo Chalk. Compared to the chalk balls we tested, loose gorilla grip provided much more coverage. Check out the before and after photos below that show how much chalk is left after three 20-second hangs on sloper holds.
Friction Labs uses some fancy packaging for its chalk, which has us wondering how much that contributes to the overall price. The packaging resembles a bag of coffee and is resealable in the same way- just roll it up and fold over the wire tabs. The mouth of the bag is conveniently small so it's easy to dump whatever amount you desire straight into your chalk bag. Since this is loose chalk, spillage and dust will be an issue, especially if most of your climbing is done indoors. Chunkier chalks don't pass through the cloth of a chalk ball as well as finer chalk, so you'll want to grind down your Gorilla Grip a bit before you put it in a refillable chalk ball, or you could purchase a bag of Friction Labs Unicorn Dust, the finest-textured chalk they sell.
Friction Labs is the most expensive chalk in our review. You pay for consistency and a promise of additive free chalk (and maybe shiny packaging). If you buy into the whole #chalkmatters thing, you'll appreciate that you get the same thing every time. Our testers ranged from boulderers who swear by this stuff to a big wall free climber who said she couldn't tell one chalk from the next and would use whatever she could get for free. If you're on a tight budget, Metolius Super Chalk is the most chalk you'll get for your hard-earned dollar.
Friction Labs Gorilla Grip led to some of the most serious discussions about chalk we've ever had.
— Matt Bento